Andy Beak

Are You Designing Your CX To Reflect Millennial Preferences?

Ian O'Donnell

COO & EVP of Business Development

24/08/2018

I saw some recent research about the attitudes of millennial customers in eMarketer recently and I was struck by how pronounced the effect this generation is having on customer experience initiatives in the US. The research found that over one-third of executives now feel under pressure to respond to very specific millennial customer preferences.

This is a subject I wrote about myself recently so I was interested to see that 52% of the executives questioned in this research said that they are already adapting their customer experience (CX) strategy to be more focused on millennial requirements and preferences. 34% of respondents had strategies specifically for increasing millennial satisfaction, while 32% were focusing on millennials as a part of their segmented CX strategy.

Millennials and Gen X consumers are more likely than older consumers to feel their expectations have been met by many brands, according to a March 2018 survey by Ipsos and Medallia. Among the industries that millennials were likely to feel had exceeded their expectations: banking (25% of the US millennials surveyed said banks had exceeded their expectations in the preceding 12 months), hotels (24%) and online retail (22%). Offline retail (11%) and mobile networks (14%) were among the laggards.

Although marketing professionals have been talking about the rise in importance of the millennial demographic for many years, this focus on designing a CX strategy that is based on their preferences is fairly new. I believe it is important though, especially for a market like the USA. According to Pew Research the millennial demographic accounts for the largest group of employed Americans. The millennial consumer is not just a demographic you need to watch for in future, 56 million employed Americans are millennials today.

This is a strategic issue that goes beyond customer experience preferences. Millennials may be your largest customer group, but as the Pew Research demonstrates they are also your largest group of employees. This need to plan for both customer and employee experience reminded me of a webinar I heard recently where Geoffrey Burbridge, Vice President, Bank & Insurance Solutions with USAA explained his approach to millennials – both inside the company and as customers.

Geoffrey explained: “Millennials have grown up in a completely digital world. For the past 11 years they have been on smart phones and have used these devices for their entire adult and teenage life. They see the gig economy as a critical component of how they consume services. Brand loyalty is very hard to achieve with these consumers – they are 30% more likely to switch a bank than the generation before them.”

Geoffrey added some other thoughts on the millennial need for flexibility at work: “They value different pay and benefits. They are half as likely to place an emphasis on high pay compared to the flexibility to work their own hours, rather than traditional office hours. Diversity is also critical for this generation – both as workers and consumers. 40% of the millennial population is non-white. They will not work for a company that does not reflect their own values around diversity.”

This question of demographic preferences is now far more important than just a question of marketing. The number one reason why millennial employees at USAA quit their job is because their manager doesn’t understand them or share their values. It’s critical that you plan for millennial preferences when designing both your customer experience and employee experience strategies.

Let me know what you think about the millennial effect by leaving a comment on my LinkedIn profile

Photo by Andy Beak licensed under Creative Commons.

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